Harriet Sherwood falsely reports on alleged arrests of Palestinians at ‘Bab al-Shams’

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report, ‘Israel evicts E1 Palestinian peace camp activists, Jan. 13, about Palestinian protesters who set up a tent city, named Bab al-Shams, in the area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1, and were recently removed by Israeli police, began as follows:

“The Israeli state has swung into action against a group of Palestinian activists who established a tent village on a rocky hillside east of Jerusalem, with hundreds of security officials carrying out an eviction under the orders of the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

According to activists, a large military force surrounded the encampment at around 3am. All protesters were arrested and six were injured, said Abir Kopty.”

Further in the report, Sherwood added the following:

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who was among those arrested, said the eviction was “proof that the Israeli government operates an apartheid system.

However, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, there were no arrests made — a statement which was accurately reported by several Arab media outlets and which Rosenfeld confirmed today to CAMERA. According to Rosenfeld, a few activists were detained briefly, then released.

Today, CAMERA prompted a speedy correction to a CNN report which also included false allegations about protester arrests.

As CAMERA noted in their post about the original CNN error, even  Al Jazeera, “hardly a source known for reporting skewed in Israel’s favor” reported the story accurately, writing the following:

“Several activists were detained during Sunday morning eviction, including Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Al Jazeera’s correspondent, reporting from Jerusalem, said.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson, reporting from Jerusalem, said the activists who were detained were driven to Qalandiya checkpoint and then released.”

Additionally, here’s how the Arab News reported it:

“Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one,” Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti told AFP.

But police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that no arrests had been made.

And, here’s the relevant passage from a report by the Egyptian site, Ahram Online:

“Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one,” Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti told AFP.

But police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that no arrests had been made.

“They were told they were trespassing and carefully escorted from the site one by one,” he said. “Nobody was hurt on either side.”

It appears as if Sherwood merely took the statements by Palestinian activists at face value without even attempting to corroborate their claims.

Please consider writing a respectful email to the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, asking for a correction to Sherwood’s false claim.

reader@guardian.co.uk